Today was the first of two days of the Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books and, I attended and have a lot of observation and comments, some of which may surprise you.
Yes, I know, many of you are mumbling, "The Left Angeles Times put this on?! Can't be good. They don't do anything right!"
Well, they have done right and while, like anything else there can be some improvement and I will address it, this is a fun event for anyone who likes to read any and all types of books.
My day started with a panel at 10am on "New Media, Blogging and Beyond" and it was very fascinating. On the panel was Hugh Hewitt, conservative blogger and radio talker http://hughhewitt.com, Kevin Roderick of the site LAobserved http://LAobserved.com and Jill Leovy of the Times who writes on homicide at the Times website http://latimes.com. Mr. Roderick is a middle of the roader type and Miss Leovy is a lefty who let the cat out of the bag when she said that the reason she is a blogger is because of the plight of black men in America. Oh, Miss Leovy is white.
It was a civil discussion, yet lively. Poor Hugh got the mainstreamers in a tizzy when he said that NBC news made a critical error in airing the ranting video of Virginia Tech masaacrer Cho Seung-Hui. He was right, but the old guard stood by the "decision" of NBC news. Mr. Hewitt dissected what would have been the way to go with it, but Mr. Roderick did not totally disagree while Miss Leovy did not like where Mr. Hewitt was going. Other issues came up but all did agree about the importance of the blogging information medium and that much of today's newspaper will be online and that blogging will be part of that.
Afterwards the panel all had books to hawk and sign. I went and spoke with Mr. Hewitt and he was great and affirming about this blog. I also had him sign "A Mormon In The White House?" about Mitt Romney. Then it was off to the next panel.
That was "The Age Of Spin", as if spin just happened in our lifetimes. Now, there the fever swamp crowd was in near orgasmic ecstasy as the panel was led by John Powers, and featured Joe Conason, writer for all the usual leftist suspects whose latest tome is "It Can Happen Here: Authoritian Perils In The Age Of Bush", David Goodman, self styled "investigative" reporter who also has a wonderful tome, "Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and The People Who Fight Back." Just an aside, I think he means liberals who fight back, not conservatives. Then finally, a voice of reason, Dr. Frank Luntz, author of "Words That Work" he was the token conservative. And there was the token moderate, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek magazine.
Poor Dr. Luntz. He could not get a word in edgewise, but when he did, he made sense. He is right, the center of America is shrinking. That is why most of the questioners were actually asking about the "conspiracy" of 9/11 like the "demolition" of World Trade Tower number seven and who was "really" behind it all. After a slew of questions on this line, Mr. Isikoff finally had enough, told the facts and he was booed and shouted down. Not even the most lefty of the bunch, Mr. Goodman, wanted to go there. Finally, the moderator had to ask the audience not to ask any more of those kind of questions.
After that wild exchange and leaving the hall with all the fringe handing out there propaganda on the "truth" of 9/11, it was off to the dogs.
I went to see Warren Eckstein, host of the Pet Show and author and pet psychologist. After that, went looking around, seeing a lot of cooking books, mystery, children's books, travel and as I say, a lot for anyone who likes to read.
But, here is a criticism.
When getting a panel together on current events and trends, it would be nice to include more than one conservative. Yes, it is Los Angeles, but if one is into diversity, there is more than one conservative out there for each of these panels.
Also, conservative publishers should have been there as well. I know it is not a huge book fair yet, but where was Regenery and other conservative publishing houses? Were they not asked? Did they just not participate? Very disappointing. The left was very well represented at the political/current event booths. Conservatives like book fairs too! We are also consumers and would like a one-stop place on a beautiful spring day to go and see books we like.
Also, there was one Christian area, Bibles For America, which were handing out free recovery bibles. Where are the other Christians? Were they asked? Did they not want to participate in a secular book fair? If that is the case, shame on them. We Christians also like books and would like the same chance that the New Agers and "Freethinker" types had to browse and buy.
But overall, it was a good event and I recommend that anyone in the Los Angeles area next year attend. Maybe some of my suggestions will be acted on but even if they are not, it is a lot of fun.